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How to make a social safety-net for the post-covid world

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AFTER THE Depression and the second world war, voters and governments in rich countries recast the relationship between the state and its citizens. Now the pandemic has seen the old rules on social spending ripped up. More than three-quarters of Americans support President Joe Biden’s $1.9trn stimulus bill, which is due in the Senate and includes $1,400 cheques for most adults. And in the budget on March 3rd Britain extended a scheme to pay the wages of furloughed workers until September, even as public debt hit its highest level since 1945 (see article). Such boldness brings dangers: governments could stretch the …

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